Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects. Typically, a third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate a settlement.
The Benefits Of Mediation Include:
- Cost—The mediation process generally takes less time than moving a case through standard legal channels. Mediation usually achieves a resolution in a matter of hours. Taking less time means expending less money on hourly fees and costs.
- Confidentiality—While court hearings are public, mediation remains strictly confidential. Some exceptions to such strict confidentiality usually involve but are not limited to: unreported child abuse, neglect, spousal abuse, a criminal act, or the threat to commit violence.
- Control—Mediation increases the control the parties have over the resolution. In a court case, the parties obtain a resolution, but control resides with the judge or jury. Often, a judge or jury cannot legally provide solutions that emerge in mediation. Thus, mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually agreeable for the parties.
- Compliance—Because the result is attained by the parties working together and is mutually agreeable, compliance with the mediated agreement is usually high. This further reduces costs, because the parties do not have to employ an attorney to force compliance with the agreement. The mediated agreement is, however, fully enforceable in a court of law.
- Mutuality—Parties to a mediation are typically ready to work mutually toward a resolution. The parties thus are more amenable to understanding the other party’s side and work on underlying issues to the dispute. This has the added benefit of often preserving the relationship the parties had before the dispute.
- Support—Mediators are trained in working with difficult situations. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator and guides the parties through the process. The mediator helps the parties think “outside of the box” for possible solutions to the dispute, broadening the range of possible solutions.
Mediation Is Applicable To Disputes In Areas Such As:
- Financial or Budget Disagreements
- Parenting Plans (child custody and visitation)
- Elder Care
- Family Businesses
- Adult Sibling Conflicts
- Parent(s)/Adult Children
- Medical Ethics and End-of-Life
- Wrongful Termination
- Workers Compensation
- Homeowners’ Associations
- Medical Malpractice
- Personal Injury
Mediation is successful in most cases and the matter at hand can be settled out of court. A majority of court cases are mediated before a judge will allow the case to go to trial. There can be a partial or no agreement made at the mediation but there are also agreements made after mediation. In addition to the disputants and the mediator, mediation may benefit from the presence of interpreters, counsel, experts, family members, etc.
Mr. Andres I. Beregovich, Esq. is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator and qualified arbitrator.